CHAPTER 236

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 154

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 & 2 AND

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. I

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DRIVERS LICENSES.

WHEREAS the Delaware Office of Highway Safety in concert with the Delaware State Police has repeatedly found that alcohol and drugs are primary factors in highway accidents and fatalities; and

WHEREAS in 1994 known alcohol-related crashes in Delaware resulted in 59 fatalities and 964 serious injuries; and

WHEREAS alcohol was known to be involved in fifty-three percent (53%) of all fatal vehicle accidents and eleven percent (11%) of all accidents resulting in serious injuries; and

WHEREAS these figures do not include accidents in which alcohol was involved but the driver causing the accident was not obviously intoxicated or otherwise subject to blood alcohol content tests; and

WHEREAS the use of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or drugs other than alcohol is often less readily detectable than alcohol, resulting M the failure to administer an appropriate test; and

WHEREAS the tests usually employed by the Delaware State Police are not designed to reliably detect cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or drugs other than alcohol; and

WHEREAS the figures of the Delaware State Police and the Delaware Safety Council may significantly underestimate the role of alcohol and other drugs in causing motor vehicle accidents and resulting injuries and fatalities in Delaware; and

WHEREAS, according to the Delaware Vital Statistics Annual Report 1992, released by the Delaware Health Statistics Center in August 1994, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death in 1992 for 15- to 19-year-old Delawareans, with over half the deaths in that age group attributable to motor vehicle accidents; and

WHEREAS motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death in 1992 for 20- to 34-year-olds; and

WHEREAS the State has a compelling interest in protecting the life, limb, and property of innocent motorists and pedestrians on the public streets and highways of Delaware against persons who drive intoxicated; and

WHEREAS the State and its political subdivisions expend tens of millions of dollars each year in designing, building, maintaining, lighting, posting signs on, patrolling, and otherwise regulating State streets and highways; and

WHEREAS the State and the people of Delaware spend millions of dollars each year in testing, licensing, and regulating the qualifications of drivers in the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS the State and the people of Delaware spend tens of millions of dollars each year in inspecting, licensing, registering, and maintaining motor vehicles to ensure their safe operation; and

WHEREAS current driver intoxicant detection practices are inadequate to serve the public interest in preserving and protecting life, limb, and property on the public streets and highways; and

WHEREAS the General Assembly finds that alcohol and drugs are primary factors in highway accidents and fatalities in the State of Delaware, and that there is a special governmental need to detect, and to deter, the use of intoxicants which frustrate and violate the public commitment to reducing motor vehicle accident losses by all other reasonable means;

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend § 2740, Title 21 of the Delaware Code, by appending the text "; test required" to the end of the section heading; and by appending to the text of § 2740 new language, to read:

"The testing shall be required of a person when an officer has probable cause to believe the person was driving, operating or in physical control of a vehicle in violation of § 4177 or § 2742 of this Title or a local ordinance substantially conforming thereto and was involved in an accident which resulted in a person's death. In the event of a fatal accident if the officer does not believe that probable cause exists to require testing, then the officer shall file a written report outlining the reasons for that determination."

Section 2. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person, thing or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the provisions or application of this Act that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Approved July 14, 1995